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Published February 19th 2017
Rice, Paper, Smoothies
Driving down Brighton Road in Sandgate at night, you might be forgiven for thinking that this dark street wouldn't lead anywhere, let alone somewhere offering a contemporary take on Vietnamese street food. But that's exactly what you'll find at Viet Street Eat. Smack bang on the main drag (connecting to Bracken Ridge Rd if you're coming from the north, or Board St if you're coming south from Sandgate Rd), the venue is well lit and easy to find.
The shops in this block of Brighton Road are well set up for passing trade, with a wide pavement and floor-to-ceiling windows. Both times I have been here on the weekend the parking spaces at the front were free (if the parking's full, just duck down Sixth Avenue and park there instead).
There's a menu on the window right near the door, so it's fairly easy to get an idea of the food they offer before going in. The restaurant itself is clean and simple, with black décor highlighted by contemporary Asian pieces. The staff are professional and friendly, and they are happy to explain or recommend dishes. We were ordering takeaway, and decided to order some of the rice noodle salads as we were fairly hungry.
The Roast Pork Belly Rice Noodle Salad ($16) was absolutely fantastic, and I would definitely order it again as a favourite. The meat was well cooked, and had been marinated in hoisin. They had taken the time to render the fat correctly via contact grilling, so the crackling was nice and crunchy without being overly salty. I did find with the noodle salad bowls, that I needed to consciously spend some time mixing the ingredients together. They don't do this for you when they package everything up for takeaway, as it would just go soggy. So mix the meat through, and it will be great. The rest of the bowl is made of up fresh rice noodles, green herbs such as mint and coriander, and bean shoots. All in all, this was a tasty and healthy takeaway dish.
The Marinated Chicken Rice Noodle Salad ($16) was another great dish. The chicken was very tender and well flavoured. The rest of the bowl was filled with the same ingredients as the first dish. For me, the best meat to go with the Rice Noodle Salad is the roast pork, due to the texture of the crunchy crackling contrasted with the burst of flavour from the herbs. But if you want overall flavour, the chicken is a great choice.
Being a Vietnamese restaurant, there are some great vegetarian choices. We chose the Vegetarian Street Rice ($14). There were plenty of shallots and egg throughout, so it tasted great. It's quite filling though, and I found I needed to add a bit of chilli to it. Next time I will try some of the other vegetarian options, like the Pho Chay ($16) or the Tofu Rice Noodle Salad ($16).
The Spring Rolls ($8.50 for 6) were freshly made, but I found the sauce a little too thick and salty. It's a shame, as the spring rolls themselves were crisp and tasty.
Even though most of the tables were full, we were able to order takeaway almost as soon as we walked in. We were told that the food would take about twenty minutes, leaving plenty of time for the 300 metre walk down Brighton Road to the bottle shop for some amber liquid. If you don't feel like (or need to, because you bought your beer beforehand like a grown up) walking, you can always sidle down Sixth Avenue and ogle the homebrew shop. It's pretty special.
The food was right on time at the twenty minute mark, well packaged for the drive home, and served with a smile. I will definitely go back next time I am near Sandgate, and try out the pho and bun mee. The bun mee are only a lunch item, and aren't offered after 4pm. Another menu item I liked the look of and will try are the smoothies – Soursop or Avocado.
All in all, this is a great little place, and it's good to see this style of food on the northside.